10 Tips to Gaining Your Clients' Trust

Whether you are an attorney, private investigator, or any other professional in which you “take on clients”, this post is for you.  Before I ever became a private investigator myself, I was a long-standing client to an adoption attorney who handled my son’s adoption.  So even more than emanating from the perspective of a private investigator, these tips are from the perspective of a client.

  1. Explain the process to your client, from start to finish.  Don’t assume they understand the process you are leading them through.
  2. Lay out your expectations and allow your client to lay theirs out as well.
  3. Be completely honest with every aspect of their case.  This includes time, effort, cost, worst case scenarios, and likely outcomes.
  4. Keep your client updated on what is happening.  Not every update requires a lengthy phone call.  Send one paragraph in an email.  Shoot them a text.  Have a paralegal, legal secretary, or assistant communicate when you’re too busy.  But don’t neglect keeping your client in the loop.
  5. Allow your client to ask questions throughout their case.  Be patient with them and use empathy.  Put yourself in their shoes.
  6. Attorneys and private investigators alike can be quite intimidating to prospective clients.  Lessen that persona and make your client as comfortable as possible.
  7. Don’t nickel and dime your clients.  Give away a bit of your time here and there when you can.  It won’t kill you or your business.  And don’t buy into the idea that “this just isn’t good business”.  Being a good person is so much more important than worrying about what is or is not “good business”.
  8. Adopt the highest legal, ethical, and moral standards as a business person and stick to them.  If your client’s request is illegal, unethical, or immoral, no need to just drop them as a client without first explaining that you are not okay with fulfilling their request and why.  If they still push it, drop them as a client.  But sometimes, a client is simply unaware of the legal, ethical, and moral standards of your profession.
  9. It’s okay to let your guard down as a professional and show your client that you too are human capable of human emotions.  Be empathetic and show anger alongside them when it’s appropriate; sadness when it’s warranted, and happiness when things go their way.
  10. Make every client feel like they matter.  Don’t give them reason to feel like they are just another face to you, another case that brings in some money.  Take some time to get to know them, their name, their story.